Getting Personal: Lindsey Gates-Markel

Getting Personal: Lindsey Gates-Markel

Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, Melissa Merli visits with Lindsey Gates-Markel, a copy editor at Wolfram Research and a freelance editor. Getting Personal appears first in print, on Sundays. In the June 17 newspaper, we'll have a visit with Phil Strang, the facility manager at Foellinger Auditorium.   

What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?

I typically get up around 6:30 a.m., and I either head straight outside for a run or straight into the shower. I spend some time planning my outfit, packing my lunch and making coffee, and I'm out the door by 7:45.

What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?

I eat lunch at my desk so I can leave work earlier and be home when my stepson gets home from school. Today, it's a tuna salad sandwich and iced coffee.

Best high school memory.

Selling zines out of the trunk of my car in the parking lot.

Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.

Topshop platform sandals, leather straps and gold buckles. They arrived two weeks later than expected in a beat-up box shipped from England. They're perfect for every occasion except sleeping.

What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?

Brunch in the sunshine with friends and a lazy, slow afternoon at home with my family and cat.

Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?

"A Wrinkle in Time" was a revelation to me as a kid, and still is. I remember staying up far past my bedtime, with all the lights on, riveted with the last few chapters when Meg and Charles Wallace fight IT.

Tell me about your favorite pet.

My husband and I adopted Isabella Rossellini Looka So Nice (Izzy), a cat from the humane society, three years ago. She's the linchpin of our family. We bond over our obsessive need for her to notice and love us.

Have you discovered that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?

Anyone who's ever met my mother knows the obvious answer to this question, but I'm finding that I'm echoing my dad in lots of ways as I get older, too — I'm an early riser, a stubbornly independent worker and an occasional (happy) loner.

What would you order for your last meal?

A huge chicken burrito with lots of guacamole, a soft pretzel with nacho cheese, a bottle of champagne and a side of desperate pleading to let me live forever and ever.

What can you not live without?

Probably Netflix Instant.

Who do you have on your iPod?

I made the switch to the Internet music subscription service Rdio last year and will never go back, so the only music I store on my iPhone is running playlists — lots of Robyn and lots of hip-hop.

What's the happiest memory of your life?

The sun coming out on my parents' backyard during my wedding ceremony — looking around and seeing my most beloved human beings looking back.

If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?

Anne Lamott, Lynda Barry and my husband.

What's the best advice you've ever been given?

I don't know if it counts as given, but I cling to Samuel Beckett's "Fail better."

What's your best piece of advice?

I can do no better than Beckett.

What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?

I was a customer service representative at the old Lincoln Square Bergner's. I was fresh out of high school, knew nothing about customer service and did a horrible job. I'm sure I was compensated fairly for that performance.

What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?

I'm very critical of my professional life and am always checking in with myself — am I working hard enough, am I fulfilled, am I doing well, is it enough — so I'm always slowly shaping my trajectory toward the career I'd love to have. I don't know if I've made a pivotal shift as much as many, many minuscule shifts.

Do you have a bad habit? What is it?

I have a good habit of recognizing my own bad habits and a bad habit of picking up a new bad habit for every bad habit I quit.

How do you handle a stressful situation?

As a fairly anxious person who strives to also be inhumanly productive, I focus a lot on self-care in order not to spin off the Earth. Break down the work to be done into manageable steps. Take a deep breath. Drink a glass of cold water.

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